Password managers: How and why to use them (free PDF)

Password managers can save you the hassle of trying to keep track of scores of passwords, but they offer a good bit more—like secure password generation and autofill features that thwart keylogging malware. This ebook looks at what password managers can do and how they can make your digital life more efficient and secure.

From the ebook:

Passwords are ubiquitous—so much so that the average internet user in the US has around 130 password-protected accounts. Talk to a cybersecurity pro about passwords, and they’ll tell you two things: Every password should be unique, and there’s no way they are.

That’s a problem in the age of modern cybercrime: The theft of one password could open you up to dozens of password-related headaches as a hacker makes their way through websites testing your email address and password to find a match.

If you want to be safe on the internet, you need to add an extra layer of protection. Two-factor authentication should be used when available, but staying safe doesn’t stop there.

You need a password manager.

What are password managers?
A password manager is essentially an encrypted vault for storing passwords that is itself protected by a master password. To gain access to the passwords stored in the manager, a user has to know the master password; in many cases, a second authentication factor is required as well.

Password vaults can be used to simply store passwords for easy recall, but one of the best features of most password managers is their ability to generate passwords. A longer password is more secure and harder to crack, and the passwords generated by password managers are combinations of random numbers and letters that are very secure.

Another important feature of most password managers is the ability to automatically fill in passwords to stored sites. By using that feature, you won’t have to type anything but the master password, and it’s a good way to avoid having passwords stolen by keylogging malware.

A good password manager will also allow you to sync your data between devices so you won’t have to worry about losing data stored on your desktop if you’re using your smartphone.

In short, password managers should take the hassle out of your digital life by putting all your sensitive information into one secure, easy-to-access location.

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